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Mosquito Fire, California’s largest blaze of 2022, contained after more than 6 weeks

Sacramento Bee 10/24/2022 Michael McGough, The Sacramento Bee
A hillside near Forestville smolders Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, after the Mosquito Fire burned through. © Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee/TNS A hillside near Forestville smolders Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, after the Mosquito Fire burned through.

The Mosquito Fire, which burned dozens of homes in the foothills east of Sacramento en route to becoming California’s largest wildfire this year, is officially fully contained, more than six weeks after it started.

Crews boosted containment to 100% as of Saturday evening, the U.S. Forest Service said.

The Mosquito Fire torched 76,788 acres, or 120 square miles, after sparking near the Oxbow Reservoir at Tahoe National Forest on Sept. 6. It jumped the Middle Fork of the American River twice – north to south, then south to north – in its first two weeks, and destroyed 78 buildings, most of them homes, while damaging 13 others.

Small amounts of smoke “from islands of unburned vegetation” inside the containment perimeter, may be visible as dry conditions develop, fire officials wrote in a weekend update. More than 500 firefighters remain assigned to the incident.

The blaze, which ignited near Foresthill and made multiple furious runs amid shifting wind conditions, prompted thousands of residents to evacuate, including the entire towns of Foresthill, Georgetown, Volcanoville and smaller surrounding communities.

All evacuation orders and warnings were lifted by Sept. 21. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

The official cause of the wildfire remains under investigation. The Forest Service has launched a criminal investigation into the cause of the Mosquito Fire and has seized equipment belonging to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

PG&E on Sept. 8 filed a report with state utility regulators, saying investigators had placed caution tape around a transmission pole near where the fire started.

Residents of El Dorado and Placer counties have also filed a lawsuit against PG&E, blaming the company for the fire.

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